tv Book Discussion on The Pope and Mussolini CSPAN February 16, 2014 5:30pm-6:34pm EST
>> okay then, very quick read, you are now, or we going to figure this out? >> yes. it all depends on how we react. there is no inevitable future. either positive or negative in one of the reasons we are glad you came to determine hope to change the conversation as we'll figure out we make the effort but there's a better answer. [laughter] [applause] >> thanks to erik brynjolfsson and mcafee, after a "the second machine: work, progress, and prosperity in a time brilliant technology." we want to thank our audience
>> otb continues with someone. the relation between pope pius the 11th and italian dictator benito mussolini, both obtained power in 1922. this is about an hour. [applause] >> thank you. it's a pleasure to be here. the book was published a few days ago and it's great to have you here to help launch it. i'd like to begin. some of you are more failed millionaire than others here the prologue of the book, even though the scene comes when the end -- near the end of the story, but pope's last days. the pope is not in his office. his ailing, elderly. he begs god to give him a few more days to live.
he has something he needs to say and realizes he has very little time left on the earth. for years, the pope had been in good health, known as the robust mountaineer pope as the young priest climbed many high alpine peaks. he was known as imperious, demanding both scholarly and devout. he insisted on knowing every detail of everything going on in the vatican and making all the decisions. but now every day was a challenge. every step caused him pain. he was unable to sleep at night. he had terrible varicose fans that throb through his legs. he had asthma to make breathing difficult. as he lay awake at night, he was troubled most of all not so much by his pain, aches and pains,
but by the thought that something had gone terribly wrong. in the daytime in his office through the three large windows that looked out on st. peter's square, so we sat at his desk with a yellow lamp from the lamp on his desk and worked carefully writing in his hand from a trembling hand on the sheets of paper. the pope had summoned all the bishops of italy. there were over 300 ships in italy to st. petersburg occasion that was to take faith in 10 days time on february 11. february 11, 1939 would be the 10th anniversary of the latter. some view may be be familiar with this historic agreement between italian government in this case between mussolini the fascist regime which established
vatican city as a sovereign state and did away with the separation of church and state in the roman catholic church gave its provisions as the church of the land. so this is a big occasion committee and anniversary. other bishops were summoned and miscellaneous all representatives would be there. the king sent to be there. the world would be watching. it was a speech that the pope saw as his last opportunity to get at a crucial message, a dramatic message. i kill your rotc -- [inaudible] i was just going to show you a couple of images to illustrate
illustrate -- that is what we are trying to do. don't want to keep it there. this shows one show robust to get an idea in the last 10 days or so of his life, what he looked like. if you go to the next image, here you see younger men at the time, benito mussolini is the 39-year-old, a rabble-rouser, a bully, aficionado of violence. he would come to power by leading his ragtag troops in a march on rome and to kind of extortion come to power at the end of 1922 a few moments after the pope came to power. the tater came to the story i tell in my book even though they
seem so radically different. the dictator would depend to bring him catholic support. italy was 90% catholic. the population was very much identified with the catholic church. mussolini needed the support of the pope for a couple reasons. not just the population catholic, but one of the largest opposition parties he had to face with the catholic party which had been endorsed by the previous pope, the popular party. ahead of the popular party was the priest. to come to power, he basically had to end the influence of the party and the best way he could do this would get the pope to withdraw the church support for that party in embracing. the other thing mussolini was concerned about was winning
international legitimacy for what would be his dictatorship in the pope would play a very important role. now though, although the pope had made a steal in 1922 with mussolini, he had second thoughts, in recent years and now back to the scene on his last days on her, the last two years, seem to be thinking he was becoming a god himself. the other thing that really bothered the pope was the increasing embrace of hitler, a man pope pius the 11th despise. in the mid-30s grew closer and closer to hitler, the pope grew more and more uncomfortable. in may of 1038, mussolini host a
triumphal visit. the pope discussed the vatican, went to a summer retreat and close the vatican museums and showing his displeasure yet he was distraught at the kind of reception that italy was given to this man that he saw as the enemy of christianity, adolf hitler. two months and i think i have a shot here, let me get to the next line for the visit of hitler. there are. two months after hitler's birthday, which you see per trade here, the visiting realm along with mussolini and hitler you see the king that during
manual the third two months after was the dramatic and shocking announcement of the new racial policy by mussolini july 19 rda. the were shocked to hear that the official position of the government was there was a pure italian race to which the jews at italy, which had been there from before the time of jesus were not part. the pope was very upset. he was particularly upset because this seemed to show the increasing closeness of the fascist italian big theater with the nazi later. the pope as he was becoming distraught, an important part of my book become worried because they are pleased that the deal made between the vatican and the
fascist regime pleased by all the benefits the church has gotten from mussolini and worried the pope in his old days lashing out my damage those relations. as his headquarters on the other side of the khyber river, only a couple of kilometers from the pope, mussolini raged against the pope. he himself was a rabid anti-cleric background and yet he had made this deal with the pope because he sought in his interest in the interest of the fascist dictatorship. he had no personal sympathy for churches or clerics. he would tell people at this time how dare the pope expressed criticism. if you said to one of his staff,
but also his lover will come back to if they still go in large numbers because i tell them to. if priests are being forced to drink castor oil, as churches are not burn down, it's because i prevent them from doing that, otherwise they would be doing. if there is a crucifix in every classroom in every school in the country comments because i ordered it to be there. it is not there before me. the catholic religion in all public schools from elementary through secondary school that is because i made them and never did before. if player state subsidies of the catholic clergy from the local priest to the bishops is because i ordered it. how dare the pope think of breaking the alliance that's been so profitable for both our
side. so this was going on on one side of the khyber, getting back to the vatican, we returned a not late january night in 1839. the pope is in very bad shape. the 130 pope is now emaciated, his face a shark and. there is this clear to everyone around him. he wants to live long enough to get the speech he is preparing to the vicious of rome. in that speech, i found that from examining correspondence, mussolini that it did or was convinced that this dramatic speech was going to be used by the pope to denounce his embrace of hitler and the racialized and to denounce fascism. in the week remaining before the speech though, the pope began to lose his strength further.
unable to stand, he take dedman february 8th, worried that he might not have enough strength to get this feature or his voice might be so feeble it would not be heard, he ordered the vatican printing office to make 350 copies of this speech to hand out to each of the bishops as they came to the event on february 11. on the early morning of february february 10, the day before the dramatic speech, his breathing became further labored. they fashioned an oxygen mask around his face, being careful not to dislodge the way skullcap when his weight had, the high officials in the vatican were called to his bed side can i realize in the last moment may be near. in fact, that morning, february 10, he died, one day
before he would give that speech. so his last wish to god to keep him alive was not answered. of course the timing also lead to various conspiracy theories in italy, which we can talk about later if anyone is interested. across the khyber, news of the pope's death, mussolini discredited in relief ace for enlisted, healed. his only worry seems to be that the ritual activities he might need to show up for my interfere with his plans for the latest coupling with the jan mistress, pataki, but there was one thing that bothered him. this too we know from the fascist side of the archives available now. he had a thick network of spies in the vatican that provide us with invaluable insight into the
behind-the-scenes activities, especially in the 30s. these reports in recent weeks have warned him that the pope was about to give a speech denouncing him and fascism in his embrace of hitler. so he was very worried. he heard also that the speech had been made any thought on one hand the pope is no more, said there is really fair. on the other hand, what if the voice of the now deceased pope were to be heard from beyond the grave's for the last that it meant so much to him. so mussolini sent as ambassador as he had many times in the past and the pope seemed to be about to turn against the fascist regime. but then he turned to was you
chenoa tilley, the cardinal secretary of state, the number two man in the vatican since 1930. he told him what he wanted to. he wanted all copies of the pope's speech shredded. you chenoa charlie ordered the destruction of every copy the vatican printing office had made of the speech. a few weeks later a conclave was held. masses of people is usually gathered in st. peter's square, looking at the chimney for signs of white folk, which they sought not very long and to the deliberations on the telltale white smoke came out of the chimney, the cardinal deacon watch out onto in front of st. peter's square from st. peter's and announced we have a pope in the new pope
stood out a tall, thin spec go figure duly clothed in the way people pro in tra. he gave his blessing. he would take the name pius the 12th, honoring the man who had long put his trust in him and were just going to show a couple more slides. this is the ritual that takes place when a pope dies. vercelli had to the secretary of state, also filled the office of chamberlin who is in charge of the pope's effects and charts of the vatican and he has a silver hammer mallette, where he hits the head of the dead pope, saying his christian name and when he does not respond,
pronounces him viciously dead. i think we can go on. his name team 38 and the next leg shows coronation as pope pius the 12th. this is the theme that begins my book and sets the stage of the for our discussion. so this is on 1939. let's go back to 1922 but the now younger bro bustamante come to power in the same year. the pope was not lemay vigorous as i mentioned, but it is also known something of a tyrant. cardinals to prepare themselves get on their knees in a private chapel and they be praying to god to somehow see them through without the pope really not them
or finding them wanting. the pope in reading these accounts of meetings with the pope, where the pope would turn purple with rage pound on his desk and keep yelling that, for example, a foreign ambassador where he's been unhappy with something that his country has done. but the pope also had a highly developed sense of dignity of the papal office. interesting today with pope francis mickey mares and taking symbolic actions that are peeling away some of the symbolic activity. for example, pius the 11th of the day he became pope, insisted his brother and sister referred to him as their holiness. he also for the 17 years he was pope never allowed anyone to sit down at the table when he ate, not even a cardinal.
this, by the way was different than some of his predecessors. it wasn't that he was continuing a tradition that all of his predecessors had obeyed. the pope's vision of the church of the world is basically a medieval one in which there is only one true religion, the roman catholic church and all should bow to its teachings and lines of authority. mussolini, as i alluded to before, was in many ways his opposite. the anti-cleric, the rabble-rouser of the person who valued islands, but also had a notion of a new society. it is a vision of a new italy and the new italian. mussolini, before he came to power had been basically the
reading radical socialists in italy. the national editor of the socialist daily newspaper and it was only with the outbreak of world war i that he had a division of the socialist party and wanted italy in the water. when he founded the fascist movement which is firmly founded in 1918, eight to his anti-clerical syllabus for his program that called for confiscation of church property and so forth and endorsed separation of church and state. i think we are the type that. it comes to him in a second. if we can give just the previous image, please. you've got some sense of mussolini as this fierce there. the pope did not appear at public rallies, anything like that particularly after john
paul ii was globetrotting and getting mass rallies. this is not anything this pope did. in fact, from 1870, when italy was conquered rome, remember that italy only came about in 1878 when the pope is defeated, the papal states are no more. from 1870 until mussolini made peace with the church in 1929, 59 years, no pope ever left the vatican, tiny group of buildings in the vatican. okay, so understand the impact that this relationship has come of this deal made between the pope and mussolini had. you have to understand that long period of time for the position
of the church was the italian state is illegitimate. the italian king communicator, the prime minister is excommunicated. no good catholic is allowed to run for parliament. no good catholic should vote for president because i would be representing legitimacy of the state that destroy the peoples they took away the rightful role of the pope. so when mussolini comes to power, despite the fact that the pope had no illusions about mussolini, mussolini didn't have a religious bone in his body. it is the pope said to some of his associates, god works in strange ways. god can choose as his instrument a person who doesn't seem and the pope would famously referred to mussolini is the man sent by providence. the man sent by providence to
stir the central position of the church in italian society in an separation of church and state and freedom of religion and so forth. mussolini also shared with the pope a preference for authoritarian regimes. the pope had no love of democracy, that in fact multiparty history problems, didn't want to negotiate sunday with the prime minister and finance the next year there is a new parliament elected and they gave it up. there were a whole set of reasons why this deal might be made. now, let me talk about one important aspect of this. that's not very well known. i should say the archives of the vatican world they recently opened for the papacy of pius xi. in 2006 they were open. we also have the very fascist archive. we can now do is try to delete documents for the police, from
mussolini's archives and from various vatican gist of it and other centers now only recently available. as he put these together, we get a picture in the richness of understanding we never previously had. just to give you some idea before we get back to those last years how this relationship work in here as we can go back there's the picture a few sites i had they just do it, this one, yes. this is absolutely crucial figure in this history who has never before been understood for even known about. hardly anything has been written about his role, yet it is a truly central. surely after mussolini comes into power, the pope and mussolini agree they need a private intermediary, private envoy and they choose this man, a room and just do it.
tacky venturi would meet one-on-one with mussolini overhung at times in these years. basically once a month. no one outside the inner circle of the fascist party met that often with mussolini. he would go to the vatican and meet with the pope. he was carrying each month new demands for mussolini to use the apparatus of the state to represent the church. these are the examples to give you some idea go from the trivial. for example, the pope was concerned about the belmont st and modest clothes, baby instead that showed too much of the female body insisted that mussolini do some team about issue as you may know.
but there are other examples. for example, there's quite a large number of people, some for other reasons. goodby getting jobs with the local schools. they often were the only that the people around in southern rural village. this was never allowed however when the popes were in power in people stayed because regarded as the scandal took the next priests in public. they were encases her ex priests were teaching that mussolini be sure that they were fired. the latter records by the way include as one of his articles that no such ex-priest should be allowed to teach in public schools in italy. another thing the pope was concerned about were proselytizing. one meeting with mussolini, first he wanted to talk about
was what he would practice the greatest problem in italy, namely protestant proselytizing in italy. constantly calling on mussolini to stop the zephyrs, to confiscate protestant literature in so far as. so, what is the interesting things to me as i read through these archives is that kind of the irony that the pope is calling on the fascist dictatorship to take repressive action is mussolini doesn't want to take. they did, time time as i mentioned in my beginning theme for the pope gave to have second thoughts about this collaboration. ..
>> he said that evening he went before the publications and he performed the surgical operation. now i am quoting from his diary. as the under secretary of state, here i have one and there have another here i modify sentence in there i have another. in these texts have no reference to the invasion of ethiopia. a year within following this campaign this in which we saw him embrace builder, they had a peculiar relationship and we can talk about it more later. he saw him as a control model in the 1920s and it was modeled on the march in rome and so then
he comes to power and he is pleased and flattered by the fact that he is looked up to by the chancellor of germany and he also thinks that hitler is a bit crazed. and he has even greater to other people's that he refers to. now the height of the storm comes as i mentioned before, what comes into effect in the late summer and early fall of 1938. and i think i have an image of this. this is from a publication that was put out by the italian government as part of its campaign and have a lot of those
illustrations so they can enlist popular support for the campaign. and so you get the idea of the images this of what the racial laws mean. some of you may have seen the film or read the book. which retrace some of us. all jewish children were kicked out of school, jewish professionals can no longer practice their profession. members of the national honor society's were thrown out and so on and so forth. and this came as a shock to the jewish community and the world community. mussolini had not been previously known to them. and so according to the most widely believed account today in italy, the church fought heroically against the racial
laws, as did the pope. yet as i show in my book that this is, in fact, and accurate. and that the campaign is a large part borrows from the church. the unofficial publication in the pages have to be approved in advance by the vatican secretary of state through this time are calling for withdrawing the equal rights that the jews were given mistakenly in the 19th century and he had a new country a daily newspaper of the vatican and there needs to be restrictions on the permissions of the jews and the sad that it was taken up by fascist publications to justify the investment campaign. and so the pope himself was
uncomfortable with the racial laws for a variety of reasons. he was not concerned about any threats from the jews of italy. there were very few and i think it was one 10th of 1%. about 30,000 people. and also the pope was concerned because it seemed like another sign that mussolini casted the fate. and what i discovered was that despite the reservation he was convinced to make a deal, and this was not known until the recent openings and known by very few, to make a secret deal with mussolini, having to do with the imposition of the racial laws for the racial laws were introduced. and so i think i have a text, just to give you an idea of what
these documents look like. it is the text of the deal with the chuzzlewit envoy of the pope signed by mussolini. in the deal has two parts and mussolini has to take a step back and put pressure on the public and there was one thing that was especially dear to the pope it is the ecclesiastical part of what the pope had talked about christianization of italians. and he was recently knowing that
he was upset about the racialized and he began to use the fascist publications and this includes local catholic action groups. and this is one that he talked about. instead of making a deal about this is that he had for years been trying to convince them of the jewish threat. and he was not sending his envoys to make his argument with mussolini. but he would get the
anti-somatic material and hewitt argued time and time again that the jews were not only in christianity of the church but they were enemies of fascism and he began to make these arguments by the mid-1920s that we now know. and so in this he has the first point that was a quid pro quo that said that if you go along with this we will take the pressure and we will withdraw the idea that you cannot be a good member of catholic action and so forth. so as you see here that has to do with problems of judaism.
and so it's up to the agreement and the pope agrees that as long as the new anti-somatic rules are no worse than the restrictions on applied when the pope was in charge during the papal state and so on and so forth, that the pope will ensure that not only he will not speak out against the anti-somatic campaign but no priest well and the inklings of these documents came out in their opponents of the racial laws against anti-semitism and so
interestingly we see that they have doubts about this disagreement and he works feverishly to prevent that out and that will come back to him and this is what he is talking about with the pope and he is certainly central to this is well. and in the same time in august he basically has drafted the laws and worried about what the
pope's position is going to be. and in addition he has this that he thought would be particularly helpful and he is the world had of the jesuit order and he has been halved since 1915 and we know that he is the italian ambassador to the holy city. and he said i went to see him because of his loathing for the jews. and he goes on to say that he blames them for all of europe's problems. and it's a very dramatic meeting. we have this in early august and
the speaks out against this and we are at the with end. because this is something that he says he is losing his mind and he doesn't know what he's saying anymore. so that everyone can now understand and i would conclude by saying that he was not prepared for the job we ended up having to deal and no one could
by providence, the church in italy ended up having a very different view of the dictator. and last night the pope kept complaining only to his mistress but to the day of the bigwigs. and it was a disaster. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> i am happy to take your questions. >> please come to the microphone so everyone can hear. thank you. that's an interesting presentation and i would like to ask you. you alluded to it earlier on. that a lot of this pressure to
the pope included some of the situations and it may be the acting of his own volition. but not as instructed by the pope. was there a strain of anti-semitism in italian jesuit orders throughout the '30s? and how did this sort of develop and how was it that influential? >> yes, in the u.s. there was an important component of those who you might say work progressive and fighting for racial justice in the united states in the 1930s. in the pope, one thing i didn't mention, some of you may have heard about the secret cyclically. after the papal visit in june of
1938, there was a secret meeting with american chuzzlewit who is her coincidently who happens to be in rome and fatherless irish has been has been a important advocate in the united states, without telling the cardinal and he arranges to meet the gentleman asked him to draft the racism and anti-semitism. and i didn't mention it to propagate the story, but that, too, was on the desk of the pope when he died and that was reviewed by another. let me give you an illustration of this. the clergy were big supporters of it and we have an excellent
publication. and he said we have to do something and immediately he fires the longtime editor and replaces him with an editor. so this is what is going on and he is highly influential in the scene as the unofficial voice of the pope. from the very beginning in the 1880s, there were scores of anti-somatic material, some that have been picked up by the nazis as well. and so i think it is not a very pleasant story of what is going on with the italian jesuits at the time.
[inaudible question] >> when it comes to the bishops, did they survive? >> yes, well, the difference between novel and nonfiction is that after 2006, as i mentioned, all copies of the printed version were destroyed by the general at the request of the salina. but the original was not destroyed and it was only after his death and then eventually now we have the full text. so what it is like to be a ringing denunciation of this and
two of them were french and german. one german came from a more traditional european perspective on the jews. and that it is signed in some way disappointing and it is a direct criticism. especially in terms of the jews, it would be kind of embarrassing or about the second vatican council. with the second council, the church rejects its previous demonization of the jews and it
takes a position of respect for other religions. >> including what you talked about, how much difference would it have made? wouldn't have been that much difference? is a basically institutional? or would it have mattered? >> is not the ambassador to the holy see shortly after his death that had he lived, there would've been a break with not too germany.
different. and it may be going too far in some ways. >> yes? >> i would like to ask a question. and they didn't send the jews away in the capital government was very much for the juries and there was opposition to one aspect and only one aspect of the racial laws. a converted jew who has never been baptized should be treated
as a jew and not as an individual who could marry a catholic. and the pope was irate at this. and able to marry another catholic. and also because church weddings, whether legitimate or not, which would be automatically registered. so went directly against the agreement that had been made in 1929. and we know from behind the scenes and were entirely about this issue. and the papal states until they were defeated in 1870.
>> he was a controversial figure almost. it sounds as if you research can now shed some new light and it will give you this in light of what you know with the research. >> many of you are aware that there have been lots of pressures openness in early 1960 during the holocaust even though he knew what was happening and
this has been a controversial issue. especially in the 1930s when he becomes the third state and hopefully there is a thinking and i do issue in a official proclamation many functions. but just for those 10 dramatic years as europe was marching towards war, and he was someone who was thought of himself as protector. including what the catholic church has been running into. and there seems to be the
institutional institute and this is certainly the way that he thought about it at the time. and so it's certainly a misnomer. and it certainly opposed his identity as well. and the germans were working for the elections and was relieved that he was elected and people with mussolini were working furiously to get and let it help. not because they saw him a great fascist but saw him as a commentator and he would make a deal. but as long as the rights and
prerogatives of the church were protect it, the other thing would not did involved in. three days after being selected and you need to assure him that the new regime was about to have one remedy to return to the relationship and i won't take any of that. what is part of that is something that follows and that the church be protected.